This novel was inspired by a few real events that happened in what was originally the Maine Province, and before that the Maine Frontier. While the Salem witch trials ended in 1692, there were accused witches in many Northeast counties and towns before and after that. Fear of war and Native Americans, territorial conflicts between neighbors, and a belief that any bad luck was divine punishment probably led to many of these accusations. At one period, many Maine settlers reported rocks being magically thrown at them. A visit I took to Harpswell, Maine and Pemaquid Point Lighthouse started the seed of an idea; learning of Peter Cook, a famous pirate active in the region, spurred it to grow.
In addition to the genre listed, it’s a little witchy, a bit historical, has a hard sci-fi plot line, and includes romance.
Straight-laced Cora Killigrew’s recent loss of control landed her in a Nigerian jail cell. It also changed her status as a CDC epidemiologist from leading to leaving. Her final assignment in coastal Maine, investigating two boys dying of a strange infection, is her last chance to redeem a shattered career. But in tiny Seal Port Harbor she finds more of her own history than the boys’. As visions begin plaguing her of a young colonial widow accused of witchcraft, shackled and drowned in a local waterspout, Cora discovers The Killigrew Witch of 300 years past doesn’t share her name by coincidence. And the clues she unearths hint the woman killed was fighting the same illness Cora must now solve.
The haunting tale of her ancestor could hold the answer to saving the dying boys. More children are falling ill. Finding the answers she needs means facing her deepest fears and risking her life. But shameful secrets Cora thought she left in Africa are surfacing, someone in the town wants her dead and she is beginning to question her own sanity.
Cora soon learns there is a fine, salted line between witchcraft and medicine, and that history often rhymes.